by Keaton Arksey
reviewed on NDS
Infinite Solutions (cntd)
Every one of the over 20,000 words have their own properties. Cats are afraid of dogs, zombies eat people and create more zombies, edible things are eaten, and honey attracts flies and so forth. At any time you can go into an identification mode that aids you in identifying what you are looking at and what you can use on it to get a desired effect. While there are many words to choose from, some just end up giving you the same thing. While some of this might be on purpose, like “gamer” and “virgin”, things like toast and bread are the same thing.
Earning Oodles of Ollars
Each level also has a par, which is the number of items it should take to solve the puzzle. After every puzzle you earn “ollars” based on how long it took you solve, the creativity of your idea, and the number of items over or under par you used. Ollars are used to buy more levels, avatars such as pirate, ninja or zombie, and the music from the levels. Merit badges are awarded after completed levels with certain objectives like not hurting anything, using two animals or using a piece of clothing.
Along with the puzzle levels come action levels, where the goal is simply to get to the starite. Once you get a starite in a level, you can return to try to master the level. In Advanced Mode, you can't use words you have already used, and you have to do a level three different ways in order to master it.
There is little button control in Scribblenauts. Instead everything is controlled through the touch screen. Tapping a location moves Max to it, and he will automatically jump when he needs to. There are some control issues, as Max will often overshoot where you need to go and the object you want to pick up and drag won't always be chosen on the first try. The camera is also a bit wonky, as it is controlled by the d-pad and will automatically move back to Maxwell after a few seconds, making it harder to place items at the other side of the level.
Drawn to Perfection
Art wise, the game is reminiscent of 5th Cell's previous Drawn to Life games, meaning it definitely has a hand drawn vibe. The designs are colourful and well done, and with a few exceptions you should recognize when something is a T-rex and when something is a Velociraptor. The music fits perfectly with the aesthetic, as it's very upbeat, but you won't be spending a lot of time listening to the music.
If you get tired of playing puzzles, there is also a level editor. Sadly, it is restricted by the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection in that you can only share levels with friends whose friend code you have. Other than that, the level editor is an interesting diversion, and you can make a variety of different levels, from simple Point A to Point B experiences to assassination missions.
It says a lot about the experience of a game when you can spend hours on the start screen pitting opposites like Rick Astley of Rick Roll fame in a submarine against a Giant Squid just to see who would win. The true magic is that it is easy for just about anyone to pick up and instantly get, as it's something almost anyone can understand. Scribblenauts is everything you could want from a game. It's unique, challenging, and it's entirely up to you. Control issues aside, Scribblenauts is a must play for every DS owner.
A unique, charming experience unlike anything you have ever seen before.
Some items look the same as others. Control issues get in the way.